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you gotta have faith
but where's mine?
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)
pop culture

The year of 2009 is a big year for me. It's a year of change. A year of renewal. A year of growth.

The Year of Maigen 2.0, a friend dubbed it.

A few months ago, I posted a column about agnosticism and apathy. I was showing that column to a friend as an example of my writing style, and in doing so opened a can of worms. What followed was a discussion about creation, destiny, fate, faith, the creator, everything - a discussion that meandered its way through a four day visit. In those four days, in answering questions about my beliefs (and falling into the rabbit holes of conversations that followed), I actually had a chance to voice some thoughts and questions I had long wondered about, but never spoke.

I left my friend in Atlanta late in the evening on the fourth day and flew to New York. On this freezing winter night, I looked out the window across the snow-sprinkled runway, darkened trees in the distance and cloudy night sky and felt a sense of peace. I have no idea why I felt it, but I knew something was right in my world. Upon takeoff, just as the wheels lifted from the ground, I could feel the pressure of an enormous metal aircraft taking flight and a thought popped in my mind, sparkling like the chime a crystal glass makes when you tap it with a knife.

Years ago I wrote a letter to the Supreme Being, an entity I didn't really know well, thanking them for making me what I am. I smiled and settled back in my seat, knowing where to find that letter, knowing I couldn't wait to share those thoughts with this friend who challenged me so much.

The timing of this friend, with the questions and the challenging and the thought-provoking and the encouraging, is curious. Currently, I'm at a crossroads in my life. Actually, I'm not sure I'm still at the crossroads - I think I already made the decision which way to go, the only thing left to do now is to follow it. This road I'm on is one I haven't traveled before, and I'm quite nervous with anticipation. I'm scared and excited at the same time, but I'm also completely open to the experience.

I've been opening my mind in a lot of ways in the last half a year. Most of it has been through reading new books, especially non-fiction. I'm really getting into understanding more about how the world works, more about people, more about myself. Recently, it's been a lot of non-fiction about writing, with a few chick lit novels thrown in. For research, of course. The latest book I picked up, though, is "A Year Of Living Biblically" by AJ Jacobs. I haven't finished it. I've barely even gotten past the first 100 pages. But the entire premise of the book is what's got me looped. He's Jewish, he says, in the sense that his family put "a Star of David on top of the Christmas tree". He wants to know more about the bible and about living without hypocrisy - following all the rules of the bible, even the lesser-known ones.

I've always been interested by religion, just as I've been interested in history - it's fun to read from afar, but I don't want to go mucking about in it. But, that may have changed for me. I was describing this book to my friend, explaining how this man is trying to understand the fundamentals of his religion and in doing so is learning more about himself. Another chime goes off in my head - all of a sudden I realize that I read a lot of books like this. Not religious-specific, but theological based. Some of my favourite 'go-to' books, the ones I read when I know how I want to feel and these books will deliver, are based on theology. And by some, I mean quite a lot. I would say well over half of them have theological themes or at least religious sub-plots.

How can this be? I wonder to myself. When I'm a self-proclaimed cynic, agnostic, disbeliever, Prove It To Me, pix-or-it-didn't-happen kind of girl?

I don't want to describe this feeling as a desire to "Find My Faith", because that's not how it feels inside. What it feels like is that over the last year I've done some growing. I've wiggled around and gotten more comfortable in my own skin. And in doing so, I've made room. Room for something more. Room for something bigger than me, even if I'm not sure what it is. In my never-quenched thirst for knowledge, I've gotten my hands on something that can't be consumed at a single go.

I don't feel as if there's a void. There's nothing missing inside me. I'm whole. I'm healthy. I'm happy. There's just a new openness where there wasn't before. I have a willingness to learn. There is so much I've been skeptical about, so much that I take literally, so little that I believe in based on faith alone. I am grateful for where I am and who I am now, but I feel like stars may be aligning, fates deciding, dice being cast, sirens calling...there's something. I feel that there is a spark out there, a catalyst of sorts, drawing me in.

I meditated today. I don't know if I would call it prayer, as I'm still not sure what I believe in and therefore have no one to pray to, but I did send out some thoughts. I requested guidance. I requested hope. I requested the strength and ability to fulfill my own goals and dreams.

I'm absolutely terrified. Awe-inspired. A-quiver with anticipation. I've chosen my road. I'm ready to see what happens next in this year of the new me.


Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

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sandra thompson
1.28.09 @ 7:41a

I have no hollow places in my being. What might have been hollow places are filled with the universe and all the living things in it, including my fellow humans. I do not need mythologies and supreme beings to give my life meaning and make me whole. I hope with all my heart that you can find this meaning and wholeness without devolving in the direction of religion, which, in my opinion, is the greatest source of evil in this world. I wish you all the best in your search and hope you find whatever it is that makes you centered and whole. I did.

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